Saturday, June 21, 2008

Is Barack's financing decision good or bad?

Personally, I have never gotten excited about where any political financial contribution comes from or the merits of a public financing system. Sure, there is always the potential for "favors" to be granted in return to "big" contributers, and certainly that does happen, but I remain unconvinced that such favorable treatment is actually a real problem of a size worth worrying about. Favors will be granted even when no money is directly involved. There are always a lot of different factors involved in any "political" decision, so trying to zero in and say "Aha!" that a financial contribution was the key factor is truly a fool's errand. Nonetheless, a lot of people do get emotional about these things and are opposed to "big" contributers.

In theory, the concept of publically-financed political campaigns is a really good idea, but only for high-minded politicians who value commitment to fairness over personal desire to "win." Barack has just shown his true colors. He does not want to play by the rules of fairness, so he is going to play outside the rules. He continually says that he wants to refrain from playing the "game" of politics in Washington, but here we have him gaming the game itself.

As I said, I don't get excited about financing of political campaigns. If millions of hard-working Americans wish to throw away their hard-earned money in a political campaign, that is their choice. I think that is a poor choice, but that is their choice. They probably would have wasted the money on other ill-conceived expenses anyway.

I personally have never given even one dime to any political campaign and do not expect that I ever will.

I am disappointed that Barack has chosen the cynical route and talks in a paranoid manner about his opposition. For someone who is supposedly committed to hope and change and not playing the games of Washington, he is certainly starting off on the wrong foot. He is basically saying "I am one of them."

Ultimately, I do not think this decision is either good or bad. It simply shows that Barack is committed to the concept that a politician needs to "buy" an election and that large quantities of money trump ideas, ideals, values, and merit.

Will the decision guanrantee a win? Maybe. Probably. Is that a justification for the decision? Sadly, the answer appears to be "Yes." Maybe someday we will see a true leader on campaign finance reform. At least for now, Barack is not such a leader.

-- Jack Krupansky


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